Tart Of Darkness - The Bruery

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Tart Of DarknessTart Of Darkness

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342 Reviews
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Reviews: 342
Hads: 2,275
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 11.33%
Wants: 289
Gots: 769 | FT: 86
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ajcobb24 on 06-22-2011

Batch 2 was aged in spent Black Tuesday barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 342 | Hads: 2,275
Photo of tbeckett
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle from Fonduevoodoo in CanBIF Spring 2014. From notes.

A - Poured black with one finger of beige head that went fast. Decent spotty lace and virtually no retention.

S - Dark fruit, sour cherry, yeast, tart, old coffee, wood, overripe dark fruit, tobacco. Pretty cool and complex.

T - Holy shit this was sour. I wasn't expecting the sting that this gave off at all. A very aggressively sour stout that featured tart notes, tobacco, musky wood and lot's of acidity.

M - Stinging acidity, strong carbonation, medium to full body.

O/D - This was a pretty nice stout. Sour and complimented by those robust stout flavours but perhaps dominated by that sourness. All the flavours seemed to come together to form a pretty complex and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.89/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage. Pours the color of cola with no head. Nose expresses tart berries and roasty malt. Taste is tart; however, there's a dark malt profile, but it is really just in the background. There's also a salty quality. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body and slightly puckering. Overall, an interesting beer, but it needs an identity - it falls somewhere between a dark sour and sour stout.

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Photo of PeterParker
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:
This is a momentous occasion. Probably the only time I'll try this with the price tag, this was a grad gift from my girlfriend, very exciting.

Pours near black with a minimal head and not really any lacing.

On the nose, it is definitely sour! I'm getting mustard and pickle juice. Very slight roastiness.

Holy Jesus! Extremely sour! At first sip I think I'm sucking on a Warhead. Taste is primarily unsalted pickle juice. It's more of a savory sour than a sweet sour. Like pickles instead of lemons. Very little in the way of stout characteristics. So different.

Very thin with medium carbonation. Doesn't feel at all like a stout. Aftertaste of tartness won't seem to diminish.

Overall this is just so different. I'm not getting any "stoutness" really, but the sourness is there in abundance. Good because it is so different, but for the price I probably wouldn't shell out another $20 for a bomber.

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Photo of fgmiele
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is dark black..white minimal foam head tops. Sour grapes nose.. Definitely a wild yeast strain evident here. Sweet like wine. Taste is sour and puckers yet rounds out like a merlot.. Very different. Mouthfeel thick and heavy. Overall different.. Refreshing

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Photo of slackattack
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 edition. Poured from bottle to red wine glass as suggested by the label.

A- dark, almost black. When held up to the light just a tad peeks through and shows the color of black cherry.

S- sour cherry off the bat, but the dark, roasty, almost smoked malt comes through if you breathe in deep and slow and let the sour wear of a little.

T- sour cherry, red wine, cheeks pucker a bit at first. After the fruit, the sourness turns into a lingering balsamic vinegar. Disclaimer: the label says balsamic, but i don't think I'm reading into it, it really does have that flavor. At the finish, tons of toasted malts, chocolate, and smokiness. Gets really complex without going overboard

M- more carbonated than you think it is. Coats the tongue and the flavor lasts forever.

O- really good. Sour stouts get me going and this one is a stud as far as I'm concerned. Big fan of The Bruery and this is outstanding.

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Photo of yesforbeer
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Maybe one of the best sours I've tasted. Wine like, even old wine like fruit with gobs of acidity leaning your palate and bringing you back for more. The aromas of red fruit and cherry and the perfect carbonation make this a top 10 all time sour. ;;;

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.73/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Not sure when I had picked this one up but was excited to give it a try. Split it with my beer guru. Almost no head at all on this one but the smell was unreal, absolutely popped. Taste was awesome, but it will certainly make you pucker so you better like tart. An extremely enjoyable beer that is a must try and one I hope to enjoy again.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with a light tan-hued head that crackles out at a fair pace.

Smell: Roasted malt, thin chocolate, a little vanilla. Vinegary element is noted. Sour cherry, maybe a bit of beautiful raspberry.

Taste: A stout dosed with quality balsamic vinegar, tiny pinch of cocoa powder, a drop of vanilla and a sprinkling of wild berries. Sensibly tart and acidic though a fairly puckering experience. Modest oak. Pinch of lemon. Longly tart finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Active yet smooth carbonation.

Overall: Rather nice, really. I would drink it again. For you. For all of you.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle at 41F poured into a pair of large snifters.

Pours black, but with little or no head. What little head there is is composed of extremely fine bubbles. Smell is super sour. Nothing I would normally associate with stout. Tart cherry is what comes to mind.

Taste is again super sour. Tart candy, like sour patch kids. Maybe unripe plums.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light, thin. Overall, tasty, good beer. But I can't find anything about this other than the darkness that evokes thoughts of stouts.

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Photo of Walshwi
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had it out of a 750ml bottle.

Pours very black, almost no head.

Smells tart, with roast and slight sweetness.

Smacks you initially with tartness. Stout flavors come in. First sip set me back a bit; however, I continued and found it to be interestingly balanced. The combination works best in small sips and quick swallows. If you don't do that, you get too much tartness or stout flavor. Alcohol is hidden extremely well. It actually drinks fairly light.

Plan on sharing if you have a large bottle. This is definitely not something I would be able to drink in one sitting. Certainly one of my favorite sours - but no match for RRBC Supplication or Consecration.

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Photo of BastardKing24
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark brown with a 1/2 finger head that becomes a ring quickly.

Smell is very tart, sour apples and cherries. Vinegar and lactic acid.

Taste is out of this world, so sour... I do love that about some sours they just pucker up your mouth and make it water. Green sour apples and cherries, maybe some funkiness, just a mouthwatering acidic punch, and I love it. Not much of any roastiness.

Feel is low to medium carbed and light on the palate. Very pleasing.

This is by far one of the best sours I've had, I think I like it more than Oude tart.

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Photo of Ed2
4.78/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Incredible... Mouth watering... saliva creating.. the best I've ever had. I love sour and I love Stout... and this one took it all the way ! It's hard to find and a bit expensive but sooo worth it ! It's my special day beer. Dark like a stout, but incredibly light tasting nearing an Ale in feel... Smell is very alluring, draws you in with a sour hint and then slaps you once you've put it in your mouth. Makes my mouth water... I've had others from the same brewer and they are all good, but the Stout is by far my favorite.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed out of a brown 750 mL bottle with a date etched into the side of the glass--unfortunately the day is illegible, but I can tell that it was bottled in May 2013. Poured into a Boulevard Smokestack tulip glass.

Appearance - Well, it has the look of a stout, with a body that is black with just a subtle twinge of walnut brown preventing it from being jet black. No light passes through--at least none that is bright enough to overcome the reflective nature of the glass. Atop the body sits a one-and-a-half finger tan head from an aggressive pour, so the bubbles are big and soapy looking. Retention is moderate, leaving sparse bits of sticky lacing on the glass and a thin film of suds on the surface of the liquid after the head fades away

Smell - I expected a clash of sour and roast characteristics, but the acidic nature of this beer is by far the primary characteristic. The roasted profiles are a very distant complement to the overall acidity, which encompasses some aggressive lactic tartness as well as impressions of sour cherries and really sour Granny Smith. There is a subtle note of roasted malt, but it is difficult to pick out amongst the more sour characteristics.

Taste - Mouth-puckering sour cherry and less dominant hints of apple cider vinegar, with fruity notes reminiscent of black currant and raspberry jam. Here, the roasted component is a little more detectible, but it's still an afterthought--this is firmly a sour beer, with very little remaining of the base beer. Really, the darker malts work to impart a sweetness, that after several drinks, starts to remind me a bit of a Flanders Oud Bruin, with the malty sweetness providing a counterpoint to the aggressive tartness.

Mouthfeel - Medium-to-light bodied and moderate carbonation, with significant sour twinges in the backs of your cheeks, and a drying finish.

Overall, a delicious beer if you like styles that don't hide their sour characteristics. I wouldn't come into this one expecting much from the stout side of the equation--really, the stout provides more in the way of color and appearance than it does with the aroma and flavor. Not sure I'd go out of my way to get this again, given the fact that The Bruery doesn't distribute to my area, but it is a tasty beer to be sure.

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Photo of itsscience
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some orange goop had collected around the rim of the bottle while it was conditioning and I got it on my fingers when I opened the bottle. The beer is dark brown in appearance with a fizzy head that disappears immediately. Plenty of carbonation bubbles are left sticking to the side of the glass. The smell is vinegary with hints of grape and cherry. After a bit of a sweet fruit taste at the front of the tongue, the taste explodes with potent sourness. It finishes with a bready yeast taste to balance it out. Mouthfeel is medium to watery.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours earthy brown somewhat clear in color with a thin light tan head that dissipates quickly.

Smell has lots of tart brett notes with primarily a vinager like acidity.

Taste follows the nose with a toffee slight malty sweetness that disappears quickly into a very potent tart vinager sour flavor and mild candy like sweet ness on the backend which is reminiscent of sweet tarts.

Mouthfeel is good, big sticky sour feel that is cut with moderate carbonation.

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Photo of pepe_silvia
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is perfection. Complex, strong from start to finish, biting acidity with huge, beautiful, full flavor to back it up. I would seriously trade one of my cousins for a bottle of this but we don't see each other very often so it's fine. Definitely not for the meek.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish dark brown. Head is pale beige, thin rim of lace really. Doesn't really cling. Looks a bit lacklustre.

Smells a bit on the funky tart side. Some mild chocolate malt notes, but large amounts of balsamic, some vinous character and a touch of port. Bit subdued, but what's there is nice.

Taste is interesting. I accidentally gulped down my first taste and it was a bit of a baptism of fire. More slowly savouring now, and it's got a sweet vanilla note upfront which is a bit odd. Develops lots of big tart notes - vinegar acidity mixing with brown sugar and fortified wine. Really tart though, crisp with an underlying berry fruit character that makes it very appealing. Finishes puckering, though, which is a shame. Otherwise the feel is fluid - a bit of body but mostly just a pull from that acidity.

Nice dark lambic style beer. Impressively sour, but enough good flavour around the edges to keep it interesting and appealing.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Incredible sourness laid upon a dark and mysterious base. Flavors come out in new and evoking ways with dark grains, fruit and palate-piercing acidity. Aptly named, Tart of Darkness is as ominous, dreary and shaddowy as it sounds.

Opening with a dark plumb color with tawny bronze low lights, the beer simmers in the glass with tepid carbonation to give the ale a slight coffee-like appearance. Its dark and ruddish appearance is slightly haze and gives the ale a rather rusty darkness. Sparse on lacing, the ale almost prefers wine-like appearances over that of ale.

Savory and tart, the aromas nearly cause sweating and mouth whetting with its utter sour fruit character. Black cherries, plumbs, blackberries, blackcurrants and red grapes give a highly tangy but robust scent. A musty aura of sea air, weathered oak and saddle leather add to the beer's boisterous scent. However, its the vinous wine-like character that joins into notes of soy sauce, coffee grounds, dark chocolate and balsamic for a highly complex nose.

To taste, the beer's fruit strikes first- plumb and black cherry leading the way. But the savory sourness rises next with balsamic, merlot, sour plumbs, tangy berries and grapes to give the beer a wildly wine-like and briny character. Its thin sweetness seems to give the dark fruit a sense of "ripeness" before its dry cider taste takes hold. Yet a toastier, chocolaty and coffee taste lurks deep in the backdrop and assists in the beer's bold complexity.

Medium-dry early, the beer's dark fruit and slim sweetness thwarts its light carbonation to go from creamy to toasty-dry in a hurry. Its jaw-piercing acidity provides plumb skin astringency to heighten its sourness in finish.

I see this as a Flanders Red turn Oud Bruin, turn Sour Porter in the most unique and seductive way possible. Its a procession into a direction that allows its darker side to assist in its sour dryness. Simply sublime at every turn.

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Photo of pknyc
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 5/13/13, opened 2/1/14.

A: Aggressive pour. One finger of dark head that very quickly dissipates to zero head. No lacing. Very dark brown to place. Some ruby around the edge. Similar to coca-cola.

S: Tart & sour. Some lactic and citric acid. Very little roast as the tartness is upfront and center.

T: Tart & sour, just like the nose. Some juice. Does not taste like a stout, but more of a sour black ale.

M: Thinner than I had expected based on the label referring to the beer as a stout. More like a sour black ale.

O: It was not what I expected, but it was still very good. Just don't expect a stout.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml classically Bruery-orange-capped bottle purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. Shared with Sam and Rich in Sydney.

Pours a dark, but very fluid and light-bodied brown, with almost negligible carbonation. When tilted there are some fine streams, but otherwise it looks pretty dead in the glass. Head forms a pocked ring around the edge of large, sudsy bubbles. Looks okay, but no better.

Nose is surprisingly sweet, with dark fruits providing the bulk of the aroma. Mild plasticky funk comes through as well, leaving a little hint of the future, but otherwise, there's more in the way of berries and a slight chocolate hint. As it warms, surprisingly, the funk comes through a little more, with a definite gueuze-like vegetative character making its presence felt. It's actually pretty solid.

Taste is impressively sour. From the outset, when a metallic bite signals that there's something funky going on, this stays sharp, acidic and intense. Vinous, barrel, acetic, plenty of intense balsamic vinegar, Cantillon-level gueuze tartness, and a lingering finish that leaves crushed tomato plant and more plasticky aromatics. Impressive stuff.

Feel is tart and astringent, but with a fluidity that's quite pleasant.

Overall, yes, this is good stuff. Probably the best beer I've had from the Bruery. This is sharp, intense and unrepentant. The darkness doesn't come through all that much, but then the colour is just impressive. Yep. Well done.

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Photo of psoriasaurus
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sour Stout? Yes please. I was sold before I even tasted it. Poured from bottle into snifter, appears light bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Roasted, chocolate aromas. First sip annihilates your tastebuds with a level of sour that would make a warhead's lips pucker. The chocolate/mocha flavors oddly pair nicely with the intense sour. Absolutely delicious.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2014-01-26 in Columbia, PA

A - Dark mahogany with a short tan head that fades quickly.

S - Very nicely sour with tart cherry, cranberry and fig. Light funky barrel aroma. Really nice.

T - Very sour, green apple skin, citric acid, tannin. Not getting figs in the taste. Medium roasted grain flavor is the primary (but in the background) malt support. Very dry. In a blind tasting, it would be hard to tell this is a "stout". Very much in the sour-tart citrus camp with some funky barrel overtones. For a sour, it is well-balanced. A little bit of dark fruit sweetness appears in the aftertaste.

M - Light-medium body and medium carbonation. Puckering, palate cleansing.

O - A very, very fine brew. I sampled it with my wife and she REALLY enjoyed this.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle, 2013 edition. Purportedly (and hopefully) the unfrozen batch that recently made it to Alberta.

This beer pours a fairly solid black, with prominent cola highlights, and two hefty fingers of rather fizzy, frothy, and tightly bubbly beige head, which leaves little beyond a few specks of lonely island lace around the glass as it quickly flashes away. Quite a loud beer, I'd say.

It smells of an acrid, vinegar-like sourness, like well-oxidized red wine, essence of cherry, lightly roasted bready, faintly caramelized malt, bitter dark chocolate, fruity cola dilute, a hint of woody funk, and a soft musty earthiness. The taste is still quite side palate-tickling tart, but now with a more overt fruity bent, the cherry, raspberry, and even unripe strawberry really coming through, yet up against a somewhat less than sturdy wall of gritty bready malt, bittersweet cocoa, and woody, nondescript oak. Some mild funky, almost cheesy notes and soft earthy hops add further, distracting complexity. No evidence of the 7 points of booze.

The carbonation is adequately sassy, and duly supportive of all the funk, tart, and acidity, the body on the lee side of medium weight, due to the same culprits, and weirdly more smooth than I would have thought at the outset. It finishes still tart and fruity, the malt and funk hanging on, but visibly fading.

I'm a bit surprised at the malt's lesser role here, though it could be that it was all that it could do to stave off the funky, acetic acid onslaught. This one's still all about the sour - it just looks dark. Glad I got a chance to hit a bigger serving, after missing out on this at GABF last year.

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Raspberry red, not much head, but very nice color.

S - Red wine, grape, honey.

T - Delicious sour taste. Lots of raspberries. Not overly sweet, but instead pretty balanced.

M - Sticky, lots of terroir, slightly dry on finish.

O - Excellent sour. Easy drinker.

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Photo of Etan
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml, 2013 batch, into a snifter.

A: Pours a glassy black with a small light tan head.

S: Nose brings musty vinegar, light cocoa, roasted grain, tart cherry, mild oak.

T: Taste brings tart lactic and acetic notes, burnt grain, slightly buttery, raspberry skin, dark chocolate.

M: Medium-bodied with light carbonation. Very drying.

O: This is a lot drier and more sour than I expected. It's good, but a little more stout maltiness and barrel presence would make the beer more interesting.

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Tart Of Darkness from The Bruery
92 out of 100 based on 342 ratings.